Whenever a high profile crime makes the news, the first impulse of any self-respecting lawmaker is to, well, make a law. When your only tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail. So even if something’s already against the law, why not make it even illegaler? Sure, the new law may do absolutely no good at all in real terms, but at least someone will have done something. Right? What better way to show your constituents that you’re on the job. But what if there was a law that could be enacted that would actually save lives? Well, no. We can’t do that…
Especially not if it means allowing law-abiding people to carry a gun and defend themselves, that is. But as a prominent gay conservative found out, even a pretend gun can save you from a severe beating. Or worse.
Jimmy LaSalvia is executive director of GOProud, the gay conservative group based in Washington. He was riding his bicycle home recently when he was attacked by a group of thugs.
The situation could have gone either way: I could end up beaten or dead, or we could all go our separate ways.
All I could think to do was to get to my backpack and find my phone. As I fumbled for the phone, I heard one of them say, “Does he have a gun?”
So I kept my hand in my backpack, allowing them to wonder whether I was reaching for a gun. Then a couple of them started to run away, and the others soon followed. I got back on my bike and pedaled as fast as I could out of there.
All the hate crime legislation in the world didn’t help LaSalvia one bit. Everything hate crime laws supposedly address is covered by other statutes already on the books. It’s currently illegal to assault a passing cyclist. And even in DC, it’s probably also against the law to beat him to death, too. No matter what his sexual orientation may be.
None of them said, “There’s a law against antigay hate crimes!” That wasn’t the deterrent. It was the possibility that I might have had a gun that saved my life Friday night.
LaSalvia was lucky. A pretend gun was enough to scare off the street scum. That time. But if one of them had pulled a real gun, pointing his empty thumb and forefinger back at them in response probably wouldn’t have done him much good.
LaSalvia’s real problem was that it happened in DC. Where not only is concealed carry illegal, it’s impossible, for now, to buy handgun legally. But that’s OK. I’m sure city government will come up with a new double secret probation-type hate crime law that will protect him next time.